U.S. Race Car Driver Hal Prewitt Closes Out 2015 24H International Endurance Series Season as Top American in Field of 819 Drivers
Prewitt Finishes Fourth in Final IES Standings Following Challenging Season-Ending Race Saturday at Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic
BRNO, Czech Republic (October 13, 2015) – Tech pioneer, fine-art photographer and accomplished race car driver Hal Prewitt closed out the 2015 24H International Endurance Series (IES) season Saturday at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic as the top American out of an impressive field of 819 international drivers from 58 countries that contested this year’s IES championship.
Prewitt came into the season-ending race – the 12H Epilog Brno – with a chance to take the overall IES title but a myriad of issues in both of the Cor Euser Racing entries he was driving prevented him from mounting a successful challenge.
After finishing fourth in the SP3 class in the No. 160 Drink Florida Orange Juice Lotus Evora GT4, Prewitt also ended up fourth in the final IES driver standings. His season total of 118 points was just five less than the 123 points earned by championship-winning driver Chantal Kroll (in above photo), an early-season teammate of Prewitt’s. Prewitt’s final tally was one point out of third place and just two points shy of runner-up honors.
“We started the weekend on a high after winning pole position in both cars,” Prewitt said. “The No. 160 Drink Florida Orange Juice Lotus Evora GT4 was nearly two seconds faster than our closest competitor and more than seven seconds ahead of the slowest. Our No. 83 Drink Florida Orange Juice BMW M3 was a second faster than the next car and a full 11 seconds quicker than the last car in our class.”
For Kroll, newly crowned champion, an appreciation for her competition against Prewitt was shared.
"Hal became one of my main competitors [after our Dubai win together]," Kroll said. "[For BRNO], when he realized he had a great opportunity to win the championship title, he upgraded both Cor Euser racing vehicles. It was clear, if he achieved a class victory and I came in 2nd place, Hal would win the title. Our teams shared kitchens and adjacent pit boxes so we have many discussions before and during the races. It was always of a fun nature and we had a beautiful friendship. Several times he came to me and said that everything was possible and I could win."
Prewitt’s co-drivers had both race cars in their respective class leads in the race’s first hour only to see problems emerge shortly thereafter.
“The Lotus was leading our class during the first hour and was nearly a minute ahead of the competition,” Prewitt said. “Then it developed a throttle problem requiring a few unplanned pit stops to correct. Later, the engine would suddenly stop, stranding the car on track. Resetting the electronics controls would restart the Lotus but the failure randomly would reoccur.” After a lengthy 30 minute pit stop, the cause was found to be a single pin failing in an ECU wiring connector. Once repaired, the Lotus ran flawlessly the remainder of the 12-hour race and almost caught the third place competitor before time ran out.
Prewitt co-drove the Lotus with Cor Euser Racing driver and team owner Cor Euser and his Dutch countryman Danny van Dongen. Euser drove the Lotus for the opening stint and was at the wheel again at the end of the race in pursuit of the final podium spot.
“The start went very well, the Lotus was very fast, but when Danny got in the car it started to hesitate on the throttle,” Euser said. “We reset it and went back out but soon the car stopped on track and we later found out it was a wire in the connectors. We were the quickest of the SP3s, we should have won this race easily, but one little wire that came loose in the connector kept us off the podium and cost the championship of course.”
The No. 160 ended up fourth in class and 30th out of 50 cars overall, completing 279 laps in the 12-hour race.
Prewitt co-drove the No. 83 BMW in the A5 class with Jacky van der Ende and his younger brother Ricardo van der Ende. Like the Lotus, the BMW led its class from the pole before a string of endurance-racing issues hit the team even harder than its sister car.
Before the end of the first hour the No. 83 lost its ABS, making the BMW very difficult to race. The team had to slow down until repairs could be made only to get caught up in an accident in hour three. Repeated pit stops were then needed to fix a fuel pressure issue that emerged at the halfway point, and by the 10th hour the team was done. The No. 83 was retired, ended up classified seventh in the A5 class and 43rd out of 50 cars overall with 207 laps completed.
“I very much appreciate every member of our team's skill, dedication and effort working to win the International Endurance Series championship,” Prewitt said. “Our recovery in the Lotus was record breaking. Likely, within another four hours we would have caught and passed the first place car. Our BMW gave all it had and will come back rebuilt and win many races.”
An international racing series competing in Europe and the United Arab Emirates, the IES joins the FIA’s legendary Formula One and World Endurance Championships as the only racing series to truly race around the globe. Prewitt came up just short of his IES championship goals but still had a race-winning season that was the best of his career and an even more meaningful personal journey.
“Winning was our objective,” Prewitt said. “Every bit as important, is the ‘road traveled’ to get there. We may not have captured the win we wanted but we did have a great and enjoyable trip. This is a valuable win and I cherish the experience. It was fun, learning and competing with our drivers and working with every team member.”
- Prewitt and Kroll began the 2015 season as class winning teammates in the 24 Hours of Dubai before racing out the season with different teams. Throughout the year the two drivers remained close, however, battling for the IES title as mutually respected competitors and friends off the track. After accepting her honors in victory lane, Kroll found Prewitt and presented him with her champion’s wreath. “Chantal came by to thank me for helping her win and give me her winner’s wreath,” Prewitt said. “I in turn thanked her but said she needed to keep it, she earned it, it was a challenging series and she drove well, winning the Ladies Cup and the overall title. If I couldn’t win I wanted her to take the championship.”
- Prewitt’s international racing adventures are being chronicled in a blog appearing on the leading sports car racing web site, www.SportsCar365.com. His last three blog reports followed the recent endurance races at Oschersleben, Barcelona and Zolder in Belgium with the Brno report scheduled to be posted later this week.
- In addition to being a race car driver, inventor and technical pioneer, Prewitt is also an emerging fine-art photographer. He is opening a new gallery in Park City, Utah this year and always takes time to hone his fine-art photographic skills while traveling around the world. The Prewitt original below was recently taken during last week’s trip and shows a nighttime scene of Prague, the largest city in the Czech Republic.
About Hal Prewitt
At just 14, Hal Prewitt obtained a junked car, rebuilt it and taught himself to drive. As a teen he began autocross racing, flying planes, painting, building electronics and programming. The combination would lead to a high-flying career in computer software and hardware, race car driving and, eventually, photography. He was 38 in 1992, when he sold his tech company to Sony and turned his full attention to parenting his two young sons. Later he pursued and became a successful international race car driver. A former elected official and an enthusiastic participant on several government, for profit and non-profit boards, Prewitt is at the top of his game in racing. He also manages investments, photographs, grows oranges and operates Prewitt Enterprises, LLC in Florida and Utah.
About Hal Prewitt Photography
Traveling the world on photo projects, business missions and attending races lets Prewitt explore amazing locations and capture a wide array of magical moments. Soon, his new gallery in Park City, Utah, will display many of his majestic wildlife and landscape images which have become collectors’ items. “Capturing a great scene is not unlike winning a race,” Prewitt said. “When it all comes together at that ideal spot and special moment, it’s that unique experience like winning each race, a moment that will never be repeated.”
(Race images provided by Gabor and Karin at NoSpeedLimits.nl and Tom Lafleur)
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